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Centum employees buy Sh50m shares

 Samuel Kariuki
Centum chief financial officer Samuel Kariuki. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Nineteen employees of Centum Investment Company Plc #ticker:ICDC have acquired 1.7 million shares in the firm with a current market value of Sh50 million, according to July regulatory filings seen by Business Daily.

The list of 19 does not include chief executive James Mworia who has 5.6 million shares worth Sh165 million.

The records offer an insight into the Nairobi Securities Exchange-listed firm’s generous bonus scheme that has turned scores of employees into millionaires, with some opting to invest part of their earnings in their employer’s stock.

It was not immediately clear whether the employees have been acquiring the shares steadily over the years or if they made large purchases more recently.

Only Mr Mworia has risen to rank among the firm’s top 10 individual shareholders, a list dominated by billionaire investors Chris Kirubi (the company’s founder), John Kibunga Kimani and Baloobhai Patel.

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The average Centum portfolio size for the 19 employees stands at Sh2.7 million, though there are gaping differences among individuals.

Mr Fred Murimi, the managing director at Centum Capital Partners, has the most shares at 690,700 carrying a market value of Sh20 million.

He is followed by Risper Nyabende with 485,300 shares (Sh14.1 million) and chief financial officer Samuel Kariuki who holds 250,000 shares (Sh7.2 million). Centum has paid its employees more than Sh1.5 billion in bonuses over the years to reward them for outperformance and also to keep them in the company’s employment for longer.

In the year ended March, for instance, the company paid them a bonus of Sh185.1 million, representing a 41 percent rise from Sh131.4 million the year before.

Mr Mworia missed out on the bonus in the review period, having earned a performance compensation of Sh132 million a year earlier.

The share purchases means the workers have a greater interest in the firm’s health and future performance, an arrangement that companies usually try to bring about by offering stock-based compensation schemes.

Centum does not run an employee share ownership plan (Esop).

Mr Mworia is among those who have booked paper losses from the NSE bear run, having bought most of his Centum shares (four million units) in June 2015 when the stock traded at much higher ranges of between Sh60 and Sh65.

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